Tourist Attractions of Mpumalanga
Tourist Attractions of South Africa
South Africa is a vast and extremely fascinating country that packs a powerful tourist punch. Few countries can match it for variety and diversity in attractions, activities and cultural groups. From art and history to food and wine, wildlife and nature, nightlife, shopping and even places of worship – there is so much on offer to attract, entice and entertain.
The Western Cape with its mountains and oceans offers scenery that has inspired thousands of descriptions. It has great beaches, World Heritage sites, romantic winelands and museums that celebrate a rich cultural heritage. You can’t talk about a trip to Cape Town without discussing the fabulous cuisine and shopping options that draw tourists time and time again.
Gauteng’s brash exterior belies its depth, uncovered at numerous cultural and historical attractions. Places like Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum and Soweto feature alongside chi-chi restaurants, funky galleries, shopping malls and fascinating visits to the Cradle of Humankind, where all our stories began.
In Mpumalanga you’ll find a host of nature-related attractions, arts and crafts outlets, country towns, cultural villages and stupendous scenery along the well-known Panorama route. Of course one of the major attractions is the world-famous Kruger National Park.
Limpopo shares this wildlife sanctuary - the size of a small country - and has many of its own nature reserves. It also boasts the fascinating Mapungubwe, where once an ancient kingdom developed a field of influence that spread beyond the continent. Intriguing groups such as the Venda and the Balobedu still practise culturally-rich traditions in the far north of this region.
The North West is all about Sun City, and the Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves, but don’t forget the mampoer farms and the idiosyncrasies of the Marico, the cultural mélange at Lesedi on the shores of the Hartebeespoort Dam or the little town of Taung where the famous skull of the same name was discovered. From the Margaret Roberts Herbal Farm (De Wildt) to Sol Plaaitje’s house in Mafikeng, there’s much to explore.
Immense skies and enormous spaces characterise the Northern Cape, along with attractions such as the Big Hole in Kimberley, the Loeriesfontein Windmill Museum and the myths and legends as taught by the ancient San. The Augrabies Falls National Park, the Ais/Ais Richtersveld National Park and the Riemvasmaak community all offer interesting experiences and insights.
KwaZulu-Natal has its own brand of uniqueness when it comes to tourist attractions. Here you can visit a Hare Krishna temple in Durban, pay your respects at the Battlefields in the Midlands, come face to face with Zulu culture and celebrate some of the finest beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. Sunny year-round, the province has great places to shop, eat, and discover.
The Eastern Cape is a place of rich heritage and struggle sites. Here historic monuments find their place alongside fun aquariums and beachside establishments. Malaria-free game sanctuaries and numerous nature reserves thrill adventure-seekers and nature-lovers.
Small towns and homegrown hospitality are the distinctive attributes of the Free State. Visit the Basotho Cultural Village on the way to the spectacular Golden Gate National Park, visit the Choet Visser Rugby Museum in Bloemfontein or the Fertility Caves (outside Clarens). Make your way to the fun galleries of Clarens, feast visually on the sandstone sights of Ficksburg and drink in the fascinating history of the provincial capital, Bloemfontein.
Wherever you go around the country, you’re bound to find a fun attraction, a moving museum, a great place to enjoy the local vibes. Enjoy surfing the Nightjar site for the best attractions on offer in each of the provinces.
Articles & Blogs
Eyed-flower Mantid (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi)10:30am 5 Nov
Winter months are normally dull and dusty, and as a student or trainer at Bushwise Field Guides you feel like part of the winter background with your “all khaki” uniforms. However, with the sights of the impala lilies in full flower it cheers you up and you appreciate the pink and white flowers that present winter with an amazing contrast.
Unnoticed, we were all wandering around one day around these amazing flowers and spotted a small purple nymph on one of the stems. With close observation over a period of almost a month we noticed that it turned into a beautiful praying...
On the Front Line6:39pm 29 Oct
By Robbie Stammers
As young boys, the only thing these men dreamt about was being able to call the wide expanse of bush their office on a daily basis; to learn from and share their knowledge and passion with visitors like you and me. Little did they know when they first became Kruger Park rangers that they would end up being trained in military fashion—and spend days and nights on end, fighting a vicious enemy on behalf of the precious rhino.
But this they do indeed, and they are extremely passionate and dedicated to the cause, even though it must sometimes feel like they are...
10 Rarely Seen Creatures to Tick Off Your Wildlife List5:40pm 6 Oct
Words Nadia Krige, pic credits below images
Considered to be the flagship of South African National Parks, Kruger is a wonderland for anyone with a passion for wildlife and conservation.
While many first-time visitors could be forgiven for heading to the park solely for the enticing possibility of seeing the majestic Big 5 in their natural environment, those who go on a relatively regular basis may want to set themselves more challenging game viewing goals.
Fortunately Kruger National Park is home to a huge array of fauna and flora, including 148 mammal, 505...
In the Field7:33pm 16 Jul
Words Braam Malherbe
In the past, a field ranger was equipped with a .458 rifle and a pair of binoculars. On a field expedition, he might have carried two clips of ammunition, a cooking pot and a stove. Now, he wears full combat chest webbing and a camo net, and carries a semi-automatic with night sight and thermal-imaging equipment.
Rangers sign up to be conservationists, not soldiers. However, poaching has steadily intensified over the past 10 years, and now these conservationists are finding themselves waging war against not only poachers but organised crime as well....
Painted Wolf9:55pm 5 Oct
Words Trevor Carnaby, pics Chad Cocking
The sixth photographic census of wild dogs will be conducted in Kruger National Park from August 2014 to April 2015, along with the fourth for cheetahs. Wild dogs are the rarest of the park’s large carnivores, their low densities and wide-ranging behaviour making them particularly difficult to count. Which is where you can help.
Visitors are requested to submit detailed sighting information of wild dogs in Kruger along with full body and side profile photos, which researchers use to identify individuals from their unique coat...
Kruger Scavengers6:30am 7 Aug
The sound of the bone scraping against the road as the hyena dragged the heavy leg across the tar was spine chilling. The leg had become detached from the giraffe’s carcass, and the group of hyenas were having a field day gobbling it up. In the background sat a little jackal, patiently waiting for his chance to pick up the scraps.
- Megan Pilditch
Hamerkop – Silhouette8:30am 7 Jun
Hamerkop – Silhouette
The Hamerkop bird is photogenic in a most unusual sense. They are often found foraging around small ponds of water, and are easily acclimatised to a parked vehicle and a protruding camera lens. This specimen was snapped in the South of the Kruger Park, admiring a spectacular sunset. F5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO-400, EV + 0.30, 80mm focal length.
Bushwise Student - Living the Dream6:30am 20 Mar
Spotted bush snake falling out of tree next to my study group, venomous button-spider chillin’ on my bed, ticks crawling up my legs on a walk, the roar of lions in the pre-dawn light as I head to the showers….the African bush certainly can’t be accused of being monotonous. In fact, the same could be said about the daily life of a Bushwise student. No two days are alike after all, TIA (this is Africa)!!!
Imagine the shrill sound of an alarm clock piercing your ever-so-sweet sleep, followed by the realisation that it is in fact your roommate's alarm clock ringing and that yours...
Lucas Mathonsi, Master Tracker1:27pm 3 Feb
One of four Master Tracker's in the world in our midst at at Lion Sands Sabi Sand
Lucas Mathonsi was born in the village of Sgagula (near Hoedspruit) in 1961, to a large family consisting of four brothers and four sisters.
Lucas's father was a ranger in the Timbavati reserve, and from the age of five, Lucas would accompany him on walks in the bush where he was taught about the animals in the reserve, and how to track them.
Over the next 47 years, Lucas honed his skills working as a tracker in the Timbavati and Balule reserves, before joining Lion...
Central Section of Kruger6:45am 26 Dec
Hello again from the Lowveld. In this edition I am covering the central section of the park. This section stretches from Skukuza north to Letaba. The central section lacks the extensive road networks of the smaller southern section but vast open savannah still allows for prime game viewing. There are seasonal rivers only providing water during the rainy season, but large dams like Silolweni, Kumana, Nsemani and Gudzani attract large numbers of game. Between Orpen and Satara big herds of elephant and buffalo can be expected due to the Timbavati river providing water. Satara and surrounding...
Southern Section of Kruger6:45am 19 Dec
Hello again. As promised more detail about the sections of the park. The south of the park is well known for its spectacular sightings, thanks to the well-developed road networks and volume of visitors. Sightings information is accurate and easily shared amongst people at rest camps and even on the roads. This area is characterised by its relatively vast open plains mixed with riverine bush and in areas the occasional granite outcrops. Species to be on the lookout for in the southern section are definitely the black rhinoceros, African Wild dog, cheetah and a small antelope species called...
Three sections of Kruger Park6:45am 11 Dec
Hello again. Due to the size of the Kruger Park it is tricky to decide on where to stay on your visit. Hopefully these hints will make it easier to decide.
The southern section of the park from Malenane to Skukuza is well known for its game viewing and birding. The south has a few large dams and the Sabie River ensures for good game viewing, especially in winter. Lake Panic Hide just outside Skukuza is also a great spot for birders and photographers alike. Road networks are well developed and consist of asphalt and gravel roads. The south does get crowded though, at times....
Kruger Park Diversity6:45am 5 Dec
The fauna and flora of the park is the reason people visit. There are vast biodiversities within the park but here are the basics. There are 7 geological substructures that influence the flora of the park. This diversity of soil types and rainfall varying from 400-720mm per year plays a vital role in determining vegetation types. Due to these factors, the park has 20 ecozones. Visitors might notice that certain animals are found in particular ecozones, but there are also other factors like seasonal and climatic changes that influence what is seen on any particular game viewing trip. For...
The Ins and Outs of Kruger Park2:03pm 28 Nov
Hello again. Now with the history of the Kruger Park taken care of, here is a bit more insight on the park in general. The Kruger National Park covers an area of ±20 000km², is 380km long and an average of 65km wide. It is slightly bigger than your average zoo or real-estate and thus game viewing is never guaranteed. Hopefully this series of blogs, will be helpful and increase your chances of getting good sightings.
As a visitor to the Kruger National Park there are many options on where to stay and what to do. It caters from the nature loving camper to the much more luxurious 5 star...
Ground Hornbill11:55am 25 Nov
Wild Card member Peter Hahn came eye to eye with a family of Southern ground hornbills in the Kruger National Park. These striking turkey-sized birds are usually found in small family groups of three to five individuals foraging on foot. When Peter stopped at the sighting, a single sub-adult bird was stalking about. Juvenile birds have yellow facial skin in contrast with the adult’s bright red. This bird was in that unfortunate in-between stage – almost like a teenager with pimples! Peter’s patience was rewarded when the rest of the family emerged from the grasses and eventually lined up...
Kruger Park: History2:31pm 21 Nov
For the traveller coming to South Africa the Kruger National Park is a must see destination, and so are the famous “big 5”, yet many travellers know little of the history of this world-renowned wildlife reserve. The region has yielded many cultural artefacts, as well as rock art and archaeological sites showing that prehistoric Stone Age man, Iron Age man and Bushman people were once present. Around 1845 the Italian born Joào Albasini became the first European settler, settling near the confluence of the Phabeni Creek and Sabie River, where ruins of his home can still be seen.
Leopard5:55am 1 Nov
Photographing leopards is always a demanding exercise. Very often, these cats are skittish or simply well-concealed, and often more relaxed in the darkness, where lighting then needs to be artificial. The challenge is to frame the picture interestingly – to do justice to both the context and the animal. This shot was taken in 2011 in the Sabi Sands using only the spotlight from the vehicle. F2.8, ISO 1600 and at 1/200 sec at a focal length of 200mm. The subject was about 15m away.
Hyenas5:55am 21 Oct
Wild Card member Alison Gillett photographed this hyena and cub near Letaba in the Kruger National Park. Who could ever think that such a little face wasn’t cute? Hyena cubs can be very entertaining to watch as they clamber over adults or chase one another around. Early in life the cubs will start to display adult behaviour. They have been observed ritually sniffing one another and marking their living space before the age of one month. In hyena society, females dominate males and a female cub will establish her dominance over her brother from the first. That’s a better outcome than...
Selati5:55am 11 Oct
Leopards are readily identified by their unique facial markings. The ‘Selati’ male (pictured here) was born in April 2010 and was still under his mother’s guidance and watch when we found him in the darkness of pre-dawn in the Sabi Sand reserve in mid-2011. He led us patiently to a fresh impala kill that had been hoisted into a low branch of a large tree. As the dawn broke, he climbed the tree and started to feed. The picture was taken with a 300mm FF f2.8 lens at 1/200 sec, f3.2 at ISO 400 with EV stepped up +0.3. Visitors to the wonderful Sabi Sabi reserve are still treated with a...